Former West Norfolk MP set for House of Lords role
A former West Norfolk MP is set to take up a seat in the House of Lords after being awarded a Peerage.
Sir Henry Bellingham has been made a Life Peer in a new honours list published by the Government this afternoon.
The announcement of the award comes after he stood down as the MP for North West Norfolk ahead of last year's General Election.
Sir Henry said it was a "very great honour" and admitted he may have been fortunate that a number of senior Conservatives who might normally have been honoured had lost the party whip prior to the election.
He follows two former Cabinet ministers, Baroness Shephard of Northwold and Baron Macgregor of Pulham Market, in going to the Lords after representing Norfolk constituencies.
He added: "It means I can continue my passion for politics. The priority is not to be a back seat driver to James (Wild, his successor as MP), but to use my position for Norfolk. I have a platform to continue to make a difference, hopefully."
Sir Henry is one of 18 former MPs to be given peerages. The list also includes two former Conservative Chancellors, Philip Hammond and Kenneth Clarke. It is not yet clear exactly when he will take up his seat.
But he said it was the "icing on the cake" to receive his peerage on the same day as the legendary England cricketer Sir Ian Botham, who will sit as a crossbencher.
Sir Henry was first elected to Parliament in 1983, when he succeeded the late Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler, who died in May.
Having lost the seat in the Labour landslide of 1997, he returned to Westminster four years later and served as a junior minister in the coalition government.
Last month, Sir Henry revealed he had been pursuing business and charity interests since leaving the House of Commons and had also faced his own battle against the coronavirus.